But the report also shows that MMS, having only recently passed the early adopter phase, has so far failed to deliver on promise for many users. In several markets, problems of compatibility and interoperability continue to dog the progress of MMS. Work continues amongst industry groups to establish international standards – and to get suppliers to stick to them.
“MMS offers a new source of revenue for telecoms operators, and a range of other suppliers in the value chain,” says report author, Terry Ernest-Jones. “There’s no doubt it has the potential to offer a leap in mobile phone usage – and appeal – but up to now MMS has also been a frustration for large numbers of users, even for basic functions such as exchanging photos between mobiles.”
However, as the report shows, many of the compatibility and interoperability obstacles which have menaced MMS will be ironed out over the next two years, allowing a freer flow of multimedia messages, approaching the level of today’s SMS. The report also points out that a major advantage for MMS is that, following in the wake of SMS, it can slot into customers’ existing mobile usage habits. The downside is that user expectations have been set to require the same standard of service, and smooth operation, as they get from SMS. Operators and suppliers aim to build the same confidence in MMS that exists today in SMS.
Other findings from the report include:
- The consumer MMS market will remain stronger than the business market.
- The critical mass of 25%+ penetration rate for MMS-enabled phones has been reached in many markets
- New types of user behaviour brought about by MMS will continue to grow – such as direct audience participation in digital TV programmes
- Companies are already using MMS successfully to market products and services directly to individual mobile users
- A free flow of video clips between mass market phones is expected in future.
*MMS brings multimedia features such as photos, sound, video, rich text or interactive applications to mobile messaging. This can take the form of a message sent between mobile phone users (‘peer-to-peer’) or a message sent from a third party to a user (‘server-to-mobile’).